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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 30

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1When Rachel found that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister and complained to Jacob, ‘Give me sons, or I shall die!’ 2Jacob said angrily to Rachel, ‘Can I take the place of God, who has denied you children?’ 3‘Here is my slave-girl Bilhah,’ she replied. ‘Lie with her, so that she may bear sons to be laid upon my knees, and through her I too may build up a family.’ 4When she gave him her slave-girl Bilhah as a wife, Jacob lay with her, 5and she conceived and bore him a son. 6Then Rachel said, ‘God has given judgement for me; he has indeed heard me and given me a son’; so she named him Dan a 30:6 Dan: that is He has given judgement. . 7Rachel's slave-girl Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob another son. 8Rachel said, ‘I have devised a fine trick against my sister, and it has succeeded’; so she named him Naphtali b 30:8 Naphtali: that is Trickery. .

9When Leah found that she had stopped bearing children, she took her slave-girl Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife, 10and Zilpah, Leah's slave-girl, bore Jacob a son. 11Leah said, ‘Good fortune has come,’ and she named him Gad c 30:11 Gad: that is Good Fortune. . 12Zilpah bore Jacob another son, 13and Leah said, ‘Happiness has come, for women will call me happy’; so she named him Asher d 30:13 Asher: that is Happy. .

14Once at the time of the wheat harvest when Reuben was out in the open country he found some mandrakes and brought them to Leah his mother. Rachel asked Leah for some of her son's mandrakes, 15but Leah said, ‘Is it not enough to have taken away my husband, that you should take these mandrakes as well?’ Rachel said, ‘Very well, in exchange for your son's mandrakes let Jacob sleep with you tonight.’ 16In the evening, when Jacob came in from the country Leah went out to meet him. ‘You are to sleep with me tonight,’ she told him. ‘I have hired you with my son's mandrakes.’ He slept with her that night, 17and God heard Leah's prayer, so that she conceived and bore a fifth son to Jacob. 18Leah said, ‘God has rewarded me, because I gave my slave-girl to my husband’; so she named him Issachar e 30:18 Issachar: that is Reward. . 19Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son. 20She said, ‘God has endowed me with a noble dowry. Now my husband will honour me like a princess, because I have borne him six sons’; so she named him Zebulun f 30:20 Zebulun: that is Prince. . 21Later she bore a daughter whom she named Dinah. 22Then God took thought for Rachel; he heard her prayer and gave her a child. 23After she conceived and bore a son, she said, ‘God has taken away my humiliation.’ 24She named him Joseph g 30:24 Joseph: that is May he add. , saying, ‘May the Lord add another son to me!’

25After Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, ‘Send me on my way, for I want to return to my own home and country. 26Give me my wives and children for whom I have served you, and I shall go; you know what service I have rendered you.’ 27Laban answered, ‘I should like to say this—I have become prosperous and the LORD has blessed me through you. 28So now tell me what wages I owe you, and I shall give you them.’ 29‘You know how I have served you,’ replied Jacob, ‘and how your herds have prospered under my care. 30The few you had when I came have increased beyond measure, and wherever I went the LORD brought you blessings. But is it not time for me to make provision for my family?’ 31Laban said, ‘Then what shall I give you?’ ‘Nothing at all,’ answered Jacob; ‘I will tend your flocks and be in charge of them as before, if you will do what I suggest. 32I shall go through your flocks today and pick out from them h 30:32 from them: so Gk; Heb. adds every spotted and brindled sheep and. every black lamb, and all the brindled and the spotted goats, and they will be my wages. 33This is a fair offer, and it will be to my own disadvantage later on, when we come to settling my wages: any goat amongst mine that is not spotted or brindled and any lamb that is not black will have been stolen.’ 34Laban agreed: ‘Let it be as you say.’

35But that same day Laban removed the he-goats that were striped and brindled and all the spotted and brindled she-goats, all that had any white on them, and every ram that was black, and he handed them over to his sons. 36Then he put a distance of three days' journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob was tending the rest of Laban's flocks. 37So Jacob took fresh rods of poplar, almond, and plane trees, and peeled off strips of bark, exposing the white of the rods. 38He fixed the peeled rods upright in the troughs at the watering-places where the flocks came to drink, so that they were facing the she-goats that were in heat when they came to drink. 39They mated beside the rods and gave birth to young that were striped and spotted and brindled. 40The rams Jacob separated, and let the ewes run only with such of the rams in Laban's flocks as were striped and black; and thus he built up flocks for himself, which he did not add to Laban's sheep. 41As for the goats, whenever the more vigorous were in heat, he set the rods in front of them at the troughs so that they mated beside the rods. 42He did not put them there for the weaker goats, and in this way the weaker came to be Laban's and the stronger Jacob's. 43So Jacob's wealth increased more and more until he possessed great flocks, as well as male and female slaves, camels, and donkeys.

Notes:

a 30:6 Dan: that is He has given judgement.

b 30:8 Naphtali: that is Trickery.

c 30:11 Gad: that is Good Fortune.

d 30:13 Asher: that is Happy.

e 30:18 Issachar: that is Reward.

f 30:20 Zebulun: that is Prince.

g 30:24 Joseph: that is May he add.

h 30:32 from them: so Gk; Heb. adds every spotted and brindled sheep and.

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